How to Always Be One Step Ahead Against Your Opponents in Euchre
When you play the Euchre card game for the first time, you may feel like the rules have been created to trip you up on purpose. There’s a lot to the game, and it certainly has a steep learning curve.
But that’s not to say there aren’t things you can do to stay a step ahead of your opponents. If you learn the game well and practice enough, the tips in this post will help you overcome even the toughest of odds.
A Quick Look at Euchre’s Rules
The game is traditionally played with 24 cards by removing all cards from 2 to 8 from all suits in a standard deck. First, the dealer gives every player five cards, leaving four in the kitty.
Next, the card on the top of the kitty is flipped over. Here is when the bidding for trump begins. The player on the dealer’s left must decide whether they want the flipped over card to be the trump. The player can say “pass” to leave it up to the next player to decide.
If a player decides that the card should be trump, they must “order up” the dealer by asking them to pick it up. The dealer will then take the top card, put it in their deck, discard a card from their deck, and put it in the kitty face down.
If all players pass, the kitty’s top card is flipped over, and the dealer asks all the players which suit they want to name trump. The players must name a suit other than the one on the top card of the kitty.
The player that decides the trump (either way) can then decide to “go alone” if they think they have the cards to win the round. If a player decides to “go alone,” their partner cannot play any cards in the round.
After trump is decided, the player on the dealer’s left leads with a card. The other players in the game must then try to follow suit. The rankings of the cards come into play here, and what you need to remember is:
- The trump suit beats all other suits,
- The Jack of the trump suit is the highest-ranking card in the game,
- The Jack of the other suit having the same color as the trump suit is the second-highest-ranking card, and
- All other cards have no special value and hold the regular ranking.
The player that plays the highest-ranking card takes the trick, and their team wins points. When one of the teams wins three tricks, they’ve “won the hand.”
If the team that chose trump wins the hand, they get one point. If the team that made trump wins the hand, they “euchred” their opponents and win two points. “Going alone” and winning the tricks wins a team four points. Winning all the tricks wins the team two points.
Euchre ends when either of the teams reaches ten points.
How to Always Be One Step Ahead of Your Opponents in Euchre: Tips from a Ranked Player
- If you have three trumps, always order unless you have a bower or ace to the opposing team.
- If you notice that your opponents do not order up an ace or bower, call the complementary suit trump if you have 1 or 2 trumps and a few high cards. This almost always leads to a win.
- If your partner plays a trump card, don’t try to top their play. It’ll be a waste of a card even if you have a better one.
- If the opposing team has a 9 card, call the suit if given a chance. Ranked games no longer punish you for getting Euchred, making picking whatever looks best a good move every time.
- Don’t call a suit if you get your hands on all four bowers. If your partner does it, you can help sweep the hand, or if the other team does it, you’ll Euchre them.
- Sometimes, you’ll get a hand that isn’t good for going alone, and your partner won’t be able to help you. In this situation, it’s best to go alone.
- If your opponent orders up a card to their partner and you have a trump and non-trump ace, lead with the trump card. You will likely trade one of your cards for two of theirs in these circumstances, which is a good deal. Additionally, playing this way will set up your aces for being trump winners since you’re getting the trump out of your deck quicker.
If you play the game enough, you will find that the tips above are quite advanced. You will also find that there are rare exceptions to these tips, but it’ll be wrong to think that you know better and not use them since they give you the best chances to win games.
The ultimate tip is not to rely on your partner for a call since doing so has led to many losses for novices.
Photo by Ezequiel Garrido on Unsplash